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Monday, November 15, 2004

Food: for stomachs or trash bags?

From the moment we leave Eid prayers and for days and perhaps even weeks ahead, many Muslims will find themselves feasting as if we haven’t eaten for a month.

That’s fine, since Eid is a time of celebration and food (lots of it) is usually how many people tend to celebrate.

Unfortunately, hand-in-hand with the all-time high in food consumption comes an all-time high in food wastage. Seldom is there a party where plates of leftover food aren’t thrown away.

“Food is a great blessing of Allah (SW). The Prophet (SAW) has said (to the nearest meaning) that we do not know which morsel contains barakah (blessings). Therefore, we should try and gain this barakah by finishing off our food and not wasting it,” explained Maulana Zainul Abedeen of Leicester, UK.

“So many people in the world, including Muslims, haven't got food to survive. We should really be helping them.”

According to statistics, 24 000 people die of hunger or hunger-related causes each day, close to 18 000 of which are children. That adds up to a person every 3.6 seconds; more than 16 people each minute; 1,000 each hour; translating into 8,760,000 every single year.

In the luxury of the times, it may be tough to give up on everything we’re used to, said Maulana Zain. But we can still do our part.

“It’s hard to give up our luxurious parties, but at least we can make an attempt on not wasting food,” said the 22-year-old Maulana.

As well, wasting has been condemned by Allah. In the Quran, Allah says, “Verily, spendthrifts are brothers of the devils, and the Devil is ever ungrateful to his Lord.” (17:27)

Allah also warns humans against wasting food and drink.

“O Children of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer, and eat and drink, but waste not by excess, for Allah loves not the wasters.” (7:31)

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